PRETORIA – International Relations Minister, Naledi Pandor, on Monday, said Pretoria strongly believes that Zimbabwe’s challenges can only be fixed by the country’s millions of citizens, aided by friendly neighbours like South Africa and countries in the region.
Delivering a keynote address at a symposium hosted by the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, under the theme: “Best path to prosperous Zimbabwe”, Pandor said South Africa is ready to assist but without imposing on Harare.
“I think it’s important to begin by saying the social, political and economic situation that is confronting Zimbabwe is one of the most challenging facing us in this southern Africa region. I think this is a stark fact, a reality that all of us can agree upon. This symposium, we regard it as our modest contribution to [the] beginning of a process of finding solutions to the many complex challenges which we believe will be resolved primarily by the people of Zimbabwe with the assistance of all the countries in the [Southern African Development Community] SADC region,” she said.
“There is no sense of arrogance that as South Africa we have the solution. The real, sustainable solutions will come from the people of Zimbabwe and we should not fool ourselves [to think] we have the solution. We would like to be a party to assisting and finding a way of resolving the problems as they confront our brotherly and sisterly country.”
Pandor said South Africa supported the resolution of the August SADC summit which set aside October 25 as a day for calling for the end to sanctions against Zimbabwe. She said, however, the regional bloc may have to approach the institutions and nations which slapped Zimbabwe with the embargos.
“We felt that we might need to go one step beyond such a call and perhaps initiate a process of reflecting on the solutions that could be considered to actively address the challenges. I’ve seen this over the last six months as international relations minister that we are all very competent at addressing, formulating and adopting resolutions yet far too inadequate in informed reflection on what solutions or approaches may be practicable,” she said.
“SADC may need to go beyond the resolution adopted [in August] and engage those who have imposed sanctions to agree on lifting sanctions to support the recovery of sectors such as health, agriculture and education”.
Pandor said Pretoria has an appreciation of the difficult challenges faced in Zimbabwe.
“By all accounts, there are serious and seemingly intractable political factors that might need attention if solutions are to be effective or implementable. The political formations in Zimbabwe remain at loggerheads and have apparent deep antipathy toward each other which makes joint decision making and planning extremely difficult,” she said.
“It seems clear that even as we support the call for an end to economic sanctions, the political dynamics are inextricably linked to the economic and thus should be confronted simultaneously. This can only be led from Zimbabwe and would certainly ease the development of SADC contributions in response to the emergent compact.”
Panelists at the event included Unisa’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal Mandla Makhanya, Unisa’s Somadoda Fikeni, Philani Mthembu of the Institute for Global Dialogue and Shingirirai Mutanga of the Africa Institute of South Africa.
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador in South Africa David Hamadziripi and former deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara also spoke at the highly-attended event.
African News Agency (ANA)